Have you ever wondered why so many people buy so much stuff and don’t practice minimalist living? Most people don’t even need even half of the things they buy!
Instead, they think that accumulating material possessions will make them happy. For others, buying expensive items is a way to acquire status, which they believe will make them happy.
But is the accumulation of material possessions the real source of happiness?
The ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote that “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” True happiness doesn’t come from buying a bunch of stuff. It’s about being content with what you have and enjoying time with your loved ones!
The art of living cheaply isn’t something that comes instinctively to most people. It’s something that’s learned. It is often derived from a strong desire to live a free life from the shackles of materialism.
If you wonder how you can do minimalist living to save money and live a simpler life, the following living tips are ten ways you can make life simpler!
1. If You Don’t Need It, Get Rid of It
One of the most important things you can do to start practicing minimalist living is to declutter. If you have a lot of stuff lying around your home that you no longer use, consider getting rid of it and being clutter-free.
The things you own can build up in one year or more than two years, and it’s much easier to end up with drawers, cabinets, attic, or basement full of things that are just taking up space without even realizing it, such as paper clutter.
The decluttering process could take one day or two days to go through all of your storage spaces to see what you need to keep and what you can remove, such as unused toys.
You may be able to sell some of it to earn extra money by listing items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, or another online platform for buying and selling. For those items you can’t sell, consider donating them to charity for the sake of owning less stuff.
2. Think Before You Buy New Things
Do you have shiny object syndrome – that irresistible urge to buy new and expensive things that catch your eye when shopping? If so, an excellent strategy to practice is to wait before making purchases to avoid spending money on things you don’t need – put yourself in timeout.
The idea behind waiting to buy things is to give yourself time to think about it. Do you need the item you are considering or is it just something you desire? Wants and needs aren’t the same things.
How much time you wait is up to you!
Some people give themselves at least 24 hours, while others may wait 30 days or more. The exciting thing about staying a week or more is that many people tend to completely forget about the shiny object that caught their eye, resulting in money saved.
3. Buy Quality Products That Last
Whenever you are in the market for a new appliance, vehicle, TV, or something else, it pays to research before spending your hard-earned money. Not all brands are the same. Some companies make products that last much longer than others.
Before you make a purchase, take the time to research different brands. Read reviews and publications like Consumer Reports to determine which brands are worth buying and which brands you should avoid.
In some cases, it may be worth paying a little more to buy a quality brand that will give you a long service life.
The same mentality applies to food, especially for those with kids. Parents should always strive to give kids quality and healthy food.
4. Buy Used Whenever Possible
A straightforward strategy you can use to practice minimalist living is to buy used as much as possible.
Shopping for used products has never been easier thanks to the internet. You can now shop for many different things by checking Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and other online buy and sell marketplaces.
In addition to potentially saving a lot of money on small items by buying them used, you may be able to save thousands by purchasing used vehicles instead of new ones. If you go with a quality brand (as previously mentioned) and buy a car that is 2-3 years old with relatively low miles on the odometer, your vehicle will have the majority of its life remaining without having the new car sticker price.
5. Stop Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses
One of the most important things you can do for a minimalist living is to change your mindset – to stop worrying about what other people think about your home decor, car, and other material possessions. In other words, stop worrying about keeping up with the “Joneses!“
“Keeping up with the Joneses” refers to buying expensive-looking things to have as status symbols to impress people with your stuff. But many people get themselves in deep financial trouble by worrying about what other people think about their status and possessions.
When you no longer care about what people think, you don’t just save money; it can also reduce stress. And the less stress you have, the happier you can be.
6. Fix It Yourself
When something breaks in your home, do you always call a professional to fix it? If so, you may be spending more than necessary on the repair. While some things professionals should do (like electrical work), there are many things around your home that you may be able to maintain yourself to save a lot of money.
Many home repairs don’t require a lot of skill to complete, and you just have to have some patience and a willingness to learn something new. Anyone can find instructions for many home maintenance issues online, and there are even YouTube videos that walk you step-by-step through many repairs.
7. Live In a Modest Home
One of the best strategies for a minimalist living you can implement is to skip buying a large home and go with something modest. For most people, houses are the most expensive things they will purchase in their lives. And the more home you buy, the higher your expenses will be!
If you buy more home than you need, you’ll have to pay more money in property taxes each year. Your monthly utilities will most likely be higher, too. It takes a lot of money to heat and cool large homes.
Another expense to consider with owning a large home is maintenance and repairs. Homeowners with large homes tend to pay more on upkeep than those with smaller homes.
Living in a minimalist home doesn’t mean you have to live in a dump. Many small houses are very nice. It means buying the right-sized home for your needs instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses with something large just to impress everyone.
You can even house hack your home by having someone rent out one of your rooms. This strategy can help you reduce mortgage expenses or even allow you to live rent-free. At the same time, you’re helping someone have affordable living.
8. Limit Gift Giving
Gift-giving can be expensive. And shopping for people can also be very stressful, especially during the holiday season when the stores are packed.
A great way to spend less time and money is to limit the number of gifts you buy for your loved ones.
How many gifts you decide to buy is up to you, but keep in mind that the more you buy, the less money you will have in your bank account.
In addition to limiting the number of gifts you purchase, be sure to tell others to buy fewer gifts for you, too. They may secretly be thankful that you mentioned it.
A variation of limiting gift-giving is not to give or receive any gifts. It is an excellent strategy for people who no longer have kids living simply at home.
After you raise the kids, spending time with your loved ones is far more critical than buying gifts. It’s all about the presence and experiences rather than the presents!
9. Take Advantage of Free Entertainment In Your Community
Another excellent strategy for minimalist living is to watch your spending on entertainment. Going to the movies, a concert, or something else can be a lot of fun, but it can also be costly if you do it often.
Many communities offer a lot of free things for their residents to do. Depending on where you live, you may be able to take advantage of free concerts, magic shows, comic acts, community events, and other things.
Even if you don’t live in an area where there is a lot of free entertainment, there’s no reason why you can’t create your own free or low-cost fun.
For example, going camping or playing board games is an affordable and fun way to spend time with friends and family. If you already own some camping gear, you may only have to buy some snacks and a few other things for an enjoyable evening of making memories around the campfire.
10. Be Grateful for What You Have
Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to embrace minimalist living is to be grateful for what you have. Many people in the world would be thrilled to live in your home, have an abundance of food, and have decent clothes to wear.
According to World Vision, approximately 9.2% of the world, or 689 million people, live in extreme poverty on $1.90 a day or less. That’s a lot!
If you have plenty of food in your refrigerator and pantry and a good roof over your head, you’re doing better than hundreds of millions of people in the world. That’s worth being grateful for.
Minimalist Living – Final Thoughts
Many benefits come with living a minimalist life, the most important of which is being contented with what you have and save a lot of money by not buying expensive or fancy things and live below your means.
It’s essential to keep in mind that being a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to live an impoverished life. There’s nothing wrong with buying the things in life you need.
Instead, it’s a mindset shift that allows you to be free from the trap of materialism that so many get caught up in.
Transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle is easy, and you don’t have to do everything on this list to be a minimalist. You could start with one strategy and continue from there.
Eventually, minimalism becomes second-nature, and you don’t even have to think about it anymore. It becomes a part of who you are.
Becoming a minimalist is something that can benefit you for life. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start saving money by freeing yourself from the shackles of consumerism.